The Hawaii Action Coalition is the driving force for the implementation of the IOM report recommendations in our state. Understanding that Hawaii has specific health care challenges and needs, we are working with diverse stakeholders to create and model innovative solutions with nurses leading the way.



Hawaii’s nursing education system is hampered by its faculty shortages, lack of productivity and cumbersome educational pathways to higher education, all when the demand is at an all time high for primary care. Hawaii is a state leading the way in implementing programs to overcome these challenges.


We are partnering with the University of Hawaii to redesign nursing education. Our goal is to increase nursing education capacity by implementing a statewide nursing curriculum that supports seamless progression from associates to bachelor’s degree in nursing. This effort is led by a statewide consortium of schools including the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and four community colleges. The agreement provides open admissions to students to increase access to their school of choice for the first three years with continuation into the University of Hawaii where they earn a bachelors degree in nursing. The consortium launched its first semester of common curriculum Spring 2012 with the new pathway already receiving an overwhelmingly positive response from students and faculty.


Nurses bring a unique, important perspective to health care, higher education, along with business and policy discussions. Faced with Hawaii’s significant health care challenges, nurses at all levels must step up and contribute their valued perspective.


We understand that communicating the value of nursing leadership and building allies are critical to providing opportunities for nurses to take on leadership roles. At the same time nurses must develop leadership competencies and identify opportunities to contribute their value. We will engage Hawaii’s nurses at all levels to train and provide them with opportunities to lead. To support these goals, we are developing a leadership institute in partnership with academia, local employers and the community as a whole and in 2011, we hosted leadership workshops on three of the islands to 120 nurses sparking the momentum to this long-term initiative.


In our small, rural state, access to quality health care is challenging. So it is important that Hawaii’s nurses practice to the full extent of their education and training. Recent changes to state laws support this, however, institutional barriers still exist.


We are implementing strategies that improve patient access to health care services by leveraging  partnerships with key stakeholders such as the Hawaii Medical Service Association Foundation – the largest and most experienced provider of health care coverage in the state – and tapping into its robust network of partners. Building upon this network as its foundation, the Hawaii Action Coalition is poised to drive the necessary changes to regulatory and institutional barriers to ensure nurses’ ability to provide care across the state.

Interprofessional Collaboration

To ensure high quality, patient-centered care, nurses, physicians and other health professionals must collaborate in education and practice, and across all health care settings.


We are building partnerships with diverse stakeholders, including physicians and other health providers, to support, spread and implement models of interprofessional collaboration in education and practice.


Hawaii has historically been home to a diverse population. With face-to-face personal communication and development of personal relationships as fundamental philosophies among its people, the nursing workforce must evolve to provide culturally sensitive care.


Building upon the recent funding from the Health Resources Service Administration of a three-year $900,000 grant to support the retention of nursing students to improve nursing workforce diversity, we will explore other opportunities to expand the diversity of our nursing workforce by applying our successes to other outlets and identifying other promising programs and models for implementation.


Effective deployment of the health care workforce requires information – data to tell us what kind of health providers we will need and with what skills. Yet gaps exist in the workforce data we now have.


To address these gaps, annual surveys of nursing programs and biennial nursing workforce surveys are conducted by the Hawaii State Center for Nursing and leading partner of the Hawaii AC. This provides the only comprehensive source of workforce data for legislators, educators, providers, insurers and state agencies.



Mary Boland, Dean and Professor, School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa 

Beth Hoban, President/CEO, Prime Care Services Hawaii, Inc. 

Laura Reichhardt, Hawaii State Center for Nursing

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